April 22, 2024

Pros & Cons: The Value of a Free Website Builder

Read on to learn about the pros and cons of a free website builder plan.

Website builders offer those without web development skills or large budgets an easy path to creating a great website for their business or personal use. With customizable templates, marketing and branding tools, and pre-stocked image libraries, website builders give novices and experts alike everything they need to bring their vision to life. 

If you are on the market for a website builder, one of the first considerations is which plan to purchase. Website builders typically offer multiple plans that increase in price based on a variety of factors including media storage, functionality and performance. You will also encounter ‘free’ plans with many builders. Free plans offer you an opportunity to see under the hood and get a better idea of the inner workings of a website builder. You can even build and launch a site using a free plan in most cases. But free plans have limitations. Read on to learn about the pros and cons of a free website builder plan.

Benefits of using a free website builder

The best reason to sign up for a free website builder plan is to get a feel for the interface and functionality. Website builders each have their own proprietary user interface, and experimenting with multiple builders is the best way to determine which one is right for you. You can browse the different templates, play around with the navigation and even create a sample site to determine if a particular brand appeals more to you.

Most free plans even allow you to activate a site and make it accessible online. If you decide to go this route, you will realize the ultimate benefit of a free website builder plan – cost. It doesn’t get more affordable than free! However, as your needs grow, you will soon encounter many limitations of free website builder plans and, in most cases, these limitations will far outweigh the benefits of sticking with the free version. 

Limitations of a free website builder plan

While website builders offer the allure of simplicity and cost-effectiveness, particularly for those venturing into the digital space without extensive resources, the limitations of free website builder plans can significantly hamper your growth online. Free website builder plans come with a set of constraints that might not be immediately apparent. From performance issues due to shared resources to the challenges of establishing a professional brand identity with a sub-domain, the initial cost-saving benefits can quickly be overshadowed by the limitations that affect site functionality, design flexibility, and growth potential. 

Use of a sub-domain instead of a fully custom domain name

Opting for a free website builder often means your site will be assigned a sub-domain (e.g., rather than a custom domain (e.g., This can detract from your site’s professionalism and negatively impact brand perception and search engine rankings. A custom domain is a critical element of a credible online identity.

Slower website speeds and loading times

Websites built using a free plan often share server resources with many others, leading to decreased performance. This communal resource allocation can significantly increase the time it takes for your pages to load, potentially driving visitors away due to impatience or frustration. The first impression is crucial online, and slow loading times can harm your site’s ability to retain visitors.

Limited pages or sections on your site

Free website builders may restrict the number of pages or sections you’re able to create. This limitation can severely restrict the amount of information and content you present to your visitors, potentially stunting your site’s growth and diminishing user engagement. Expanding your site’s content is often necessary as your business or online presence grows.

Limited storage options

With constrained storage space, your ability to upload high-quality images, videos, and other important content will be limited. This affects not only the functionality of your site but also its visual appeal, potentially reducing the effectiveness of your online presence.

Lack of design customization options

Free tools typically offer a limited set of templates and design choices, making it challenging to create a unique and cohesive brand identity across your website. This lack of customization can make your site look generic and undistinguished from your competitors.

Lack of mobile optimization

In an era where mobile browsing is predominant, having a site that is not optimized for mobile devices can lead to a poor user experience. This deficiency decreases the likelihood of repeat visits and engagement, as a significant portion of web traffic now comes from smartphones and tablets.

Limited product slots for ecommerce shops

For businesses looking to sell online, free platforms may offer limited product listings, which can restrict the scale and variety of your inventory. This limitation affects your ability to meet customer demand and grow your business, potentially capping the success of your online store before it even begins.

Free vs paid website builder plans: which is right for you?

If you have never used a website builder, or have very basic ambitions for your website – like a single-page, static website with no interactive features – a free plan may be a great option.  

But if your aspirations are to grow an online brand or personal web presence, it’s important to recognize the limitations inherent in free website builders. Limited design options, the potential for slower site performance, and the use of subdomains can hinder your site’s effectiveness and professionalism. As you look to scale your website, you will most likely find the nominal cost of upgrading to a paid plan to be well worth the investment. 

Explore’s website builder products and begin your journey to online success today!


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